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82 230E, 2001 ML320
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I drove my car home and parked it in the garage. This morning I awoke to find that my key will not turn in the ignition. It turns far enough to unlock the steering wheel, but does not make it all the way to the second position. I have never had a problem with the key in the past (there was never any trouble turning it). What do I need to do to fix it? Please help!
 

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-88 250D, -93 280TE-24 Sportline and -00 E270T CDI
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898 Posts
Don't turn the steering lock back on! If you can turn the key to position 1 the lock can be dismantled/removed. Have you tried to spray oil in it?
 

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'78 240D 4-speed greasel
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312 Posts
Oh man, this is actually a common problem eventually. Whatever you do don't lock the steering wheel - this happened to me a few months ago and it was a BEAR! - you need to replace your ignition lock & tumbler and unfortunately possibly the whole housing - thats what I had to do - heres some helpful links

http://dieselgiant.com/repairignitionlock.htm

https://www.autohausaz.com
 

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1982 Euro 500 SEC, 1985 300D Turbo Diesel (338,000 miles!), 1984 Euro BRABUS 190E
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275 Posts
How are your transmission shifter bushings? Sometimes if you don't put it in park completely then the neutral safety switch will keep you from turning the key. Just try 'jiggling' the shifter, insuring it is engaged in park, then try again.
 

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1979 280CE
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6,118 Posts
^^^No, the neutral saftey switch will not stop the key from turning? That switch will allow the key to turn, it just will not engage the starter.
 

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1982 Euro 500 SEC, 1985 300D Turbo Diesel (338,000 miles!), 1984 Euro BRABUS 190E
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275 Posts
^^^No, the neutral saftey switch will not stop the key from turning? That switch will allow the key to turn, it just will not engage the starter.
I'm quite positive that what I said was correct. If the transmission is not in neutral or park then the key will not turn. I know this because my shifter bushings are not the greatest and I must insure I'm in the correct gear.
 

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96 E300D
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817 Posts
I'm quite positive that what I said was correct. If the transmission is not in neutral or park then the key will not turn. I know this because my shifter bushings are not the greatest and I must insure I'm in the correct gear.
Which model/year car do you have?
 

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1979 280CE
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6,118 Posts
Not on a W123. You must be talking about another series.
 

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82 230E, 2001 ML320
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the insight. I thought I would have to get in there and replace it, but wanted to be sure before I started digging into it. Hopefully I can get this done before the coming weekend as my wife needs the other car to head outr of town.
 

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1982 Euro 500 SEC, 1985 300D Turbo Diesel (338,000 miles!), 1984 Euro BRABUS 190E
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275 Posts
Thanks for the insight. I thought I would have to get in there and replace it, but wanted to be sure before I started digging into it. Hopefully I can get this done before the coming weekend as my wife needs the other car to head outr of town.
Have you tried making sure it was in park? I'm not saying that's the problem, but I know it's common with these cars when the shifter bushings get old.

I have an '85 300D TurboDiesel. I could be wrong about it being the neutral safety switch, I thought that was what kept the key from turning when it wasn't in park or neutral. However, even if it's not the neutral safety switch, this is a common problem with the key not turning.
 

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1982 300CD
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5,162 Posts
I've tried starting my car while it was in drive.
The key turns but the engine doesn't.

Sometimes the steering wheel will lock, keeping the key from turning, but I'm sure you know that.
 

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1978 280ce euro found dead on Ebay
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1,805 Posts
79Mercy is right because I start my car by turning the key and holding it in start while I jiggle the shifter around park until it starts.
 

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82 230E, 2001 ML320
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Can the ignition lock be removed without grinding off the pin at the column (as done by dieselgiant)?
 

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1979 280CE
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6,118 Posts
if the key is turned to the 1st position.
 

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82 230E, 2001 ML320
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So I finally got the iginition assembly removed from the column, but can someone tell me the trick for removing the wiring harness from the back of it?
 

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'78 240D 4-speed greasel
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312 Posts
So I finally got the iginition assembly removed from the column, but can someone tell me the trick for removing the wiring harness from the back of it?
hmm... i don't remember, but it should be straight forward, maybe a small bolt or two???

did you have to do any grinding?
 

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82 230E, 2001 ML320
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Gents, thanks for the help. Instead of grinding (I couldn't find a grinding bit) I used a metal drill bit to drill out the pin. My problem with getting the wiring harness off was that the key wouldn't fully turn to the 1st position, the steering column lock pin was jammed out. I had to pry it down with a screwdriver to get it to release, and now everything works great. I have spayed the entire works with graphite oil, and now plan on just reinstalling as there was nothing wrong with the tumblers. Now that I have done this if it happens again I know just what to do. Thanks again.
 
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